Three things have made me sigh and roll my eyes in the last two hours.
One, a friend whinging about gaining weight (while eating a slice of chocolate brownie). A second still hasn’t applied for a brilliant job even though I wrote her application for her two weeks ago (while she complained about her boss. He is a jerk, but that’s beside the point). The third was someone who stood up and walked away from the park, leaving their rubbish alongside the imprint of their bum in the grass. (The abandoned crisps packet and takeaway cup were the offenders, not the bum print, just to be clear.)
I laughed with the two friends, and resisted temptation to shout after the littering stranger. But the combination of all three did get me thinking, ‘Can we all take a bit of ownership?’
To friend 1: Put down the cake – even if you can’t be bothered/don’t have the time to go to the gym. You can only help yourself with this, I can’t be your mouth monitor.
To friend 2: I love you and I will listen to stories about your vile boss every time we meet for a catch up. I will write your CV and prep you with pre-interview confidence. But after that…
To stranger: pick up your blummin’ rubbish.
Now, I don’t want to sound all Oprah, but I’m a great believer in what some people call ‘cleaning your own house.’ I don’t mean I’m a clean-freak who comes home from work and gets the mop and duster out. But at the end of each day, I take a few minutes to run through the day in my head and balance my mental check book. Did I make someone smile? Did I achieve what I wanted to? Sometimes, that’s as simple as sending an email to a friend who lives overseas, with pictures, and some funny tales. Sometimes, it’s taking the rubbish to the bin – take note, stranger from the park.
Did I show some self-restraint and put down the chocolate bar after two pieces? No, but I did after six and maybe that’s ok today because I walked home from work. Tomorrow, I’ll have none. Or maybe just one.
I try to keep my side of the street clean. Call it mental Feng-Shui if you like. I’m not a saint by any stretch, but I try not to let things fester, gather mould and go off.
I check myself. Did I lose my patience too quickly? Do I owe an apology? In the whirlwind of the day I sometimes know I haven’t handled something perfectly and maybe, when the dust has settled, it warrants revisiting to clear the air to go forward more productively. You see, cleaning your house is everywhere!
It also involves taking a big breath and letting go of anger, resentments, criticisms, jealousy and all that other fun stuff that being human entails. I ask myself what’s bugging me, put it in perspective and move on. There is courage in letting go and it’s actually quite liberating!
Taking personal ownership enables society to tick along slickly. If we all do our bit it’s much easier. Unless we all want to be totally selfish and trash each other, we have to take some ownership for our actions.
We’re personally accountable for a whole smorgasbord of things in life, from our emotions to consumables, and if the world keeps heading to user-pays we’ll see it more and more.
We pay for the amount of fuel that we consume in our cars, and the energy in our power bills. There are reports airlines will begin weighing passengers and charging airfares based on weight. That may sound extreme, but it’s an interesting one. Let’s ignore shouts of ‘disgusting’, ‘unfair’ and ‘prejudice’ for a second. Airlines have reduced the amount you can carry on in your luggage for space but also because weight goes hand in hand with fuel consumption. Perhaps pay-as-you-weigh airfares are the next step in a world where the demand for air travel keeps increasing. Your body weight plus your suitcase equals your ticket price.
The magic word with all of this is accountability. If I eat cake and don’t burn off those calories, I will gain weight. Am I ok with that? Maybe I am. Am I ok with that if it means I pay for it by splitting my jeans, hating my second chin in the mirror AND having to pay higher airfares? Maybe I’m not.
If I smoke, drink or take drugs, I am dicing with the devil and there may health tax to pay. Am I OK with that?
It is only me who can take ownership of my actions and my emotions. Ultimately, how much litter I throw around is up to me!
Do you think you take enough responsibility for your own life decisions?
Follow Corrine on Twitter: @TweetCorrineB
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